Oregon's farmers, ranchers and fishing industry grossed a record $5.2 billion in 2011 – thanks to higher commodity prices, according to a report by the Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service.
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Sales were up 19.1 percent from a revised $4.4 billion in 2010, the largest percentage increase since a 20.6 percent jump in 1979, said Bart Eleveld, the OSU Extension Service economist who compiled the report.
Of the 89 commodities identified in the report, 66 increased in sales compared with 2010.
Dairy products advanced from third place into the No. 2 slot at $523.9 million with a gain of 10.8 percent, fueled by rebounding milk prices, said Troy Downing, the dairy specialist with the OSU Extension Service.
Alfalfa hay again finished fifth with a 54.9 percent jump to $272.2 million thanks to higher prices for it, said Mylen Bohle, an agronomist with the OSU Extension Service in central Oregon.
He added that with stronger milk prices, dairies were able to afford better quality – and thus more expensive – alfalfa hay.
The last sales record was set in 2008 when sales were $4.9 billion. They plunged 15.1 percent in 2009, marking the biggest percentage drop in more than 30 years. Sales rebounded 5.8 percent in 2010.
"After two difficult years, Oregon agricultural sales have recovered from the impacts of the recession," said economist Bill Boggess, the executive associate dean of OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
The report contains estimates for gross farmgate sales for 2011 and revised numbers for 2010 and 2009. PD
—Information from the OSU Extension Service